Restaurants Wine & Dine

Celebrity chef’s contemporary Italian menu a hit at SPIGA

By: Brooke Chenoweth

“Meraviglioso” – it’s one of the few Italian words I know, and it means “wonderful”. It’s not a word I have the opportunity to use very often, but when I finished my five course tasting menu (HK$788 per person) at SPIGA recently, it was the only one that came to mind.

Celebrity chef Enrico Bartolini and SPIGA Head Chef Giuseppe Carlucci
Celebrity chef Enrico Bartolini and SPIGA Head Chef Giuseppe Carlucci

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We started with a beef carpaccio on crispy crackers with rocket, Grana Padano cheese and black truffle. I’m not a fan of carpaccio generally, but I couldn’t resist the truffle, and the whole thing was light, delicate and beautifully balanced. The second dish, Sicilian red prawn, half fried with tamarind sauce, and chick pea soup came with a whole prawn that was crispy on the outside but almost raw inside – sushi style. I much preferred the delicious chickpea soup, but my husband happily devoured both his prawn and mine, loving the different textures.

Sicilian red prawn was served half fried with tamarind and chickpea soup at Spiga
Sicilian red prawn was served half fried with tamarind and chickpea soup at SPIGA

Next up was the beetroot risotto with gorgonzola, a real treat that brought out the best of the simple ingredients – I could just about have licked the bowl! Following this was crunchy veal cheek with crispy potatoes and Dijon mustard mille feuille – another example of subtlety and simplicity. The veal was melt-in-the-mouth rare and the mille feuille a work of art, taking the concept of steak and chips to another level!

We had the pleasure of sharing two desserts (which surely means the calories are shared too, right?). The soft crème brûlée with cherries, meringue and iced blueberries was light and fluffy and oh-so-good, while the chocolate foam with hazelnut ice cream, a signature dish, was rich and decadent – clearly the work of a dessert master. There was a wine pairing with each course, and each was as delicious as the dish it accompanied.

SPIGA: The interior design aimed to create a glam 1950s vibe
The interior design aimed to create a glam 1950s vibe

The restaurant is a first venture outside Italy for Italian celebrity chef, Enrico Bartolini. General Manager Matteo made us feel most welcome and added an authentic Italian air to the experience, while the staff were friendly and efficient. The place has a nice ambience – lux with an industrial edge – and it was great to see it packed by the time we left. There’s no shortage of Italian restaurants in HK, but this is one of the good ones!

SPIGA

3/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road, Central

2871 0055 | diningconcepts.com

This article first appeared in the Apr/May edition of Expat Living. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.

Love Italian food? Check out our review of Spasso’s gourmet Italian brunch!